Protesters pedaling for power.
It’s been only a few days since their generator was confiscated, but Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York’s Zuccotti park are finding eco-friendly ways to keep their temporary home clean and plugged in to the outside world. Demonstrator George Pingeon helped assemble these two power bicycles. The bikes produce enough energy for batteries to keep essential items like computers and cell phones fully charged. Pingeon says it takes about six hours of pedaling to charge the batteries, but they can run for up to 100 hours. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE PINGEON – OCCUPY WALL STREET’S SUSTAINABILITY GROUP, SAYING: “We’re not there yet, but this is going to offset what we were using in gas and while we don’t have the generators it’s going to be able to produce what we need, the minimum that we need to produce our activities here in the park.” The power bikes are just one component of a larger effort by a “Sustainability” working group formed by the protesters. Six weeks into their demonstration, the group has been forced to contend with large quantities of garbage, food waste and dirty water that are produced in the park on a daily basis. The group estimates that each day up to 200 lbs. of compost are collected and then transported to local farms and gardens. Brendan Cavanaugh organizes bicycle deliveries. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRENNAN CAVANAUGH – OCCUPY WALL STREET’S SUSTAINABILITY GROUP, SAYING: “We’re bringing it to local community gardens. We have several in the East Village and one on Governors Island, which is a compound specific farm and they turn it back into soil and turn it back into something that makes rich growing material.” The sustainability group also have a grey water treatment system that uses wood chips and gravel to filter dirty dishwater, preventing any contaminants from re-entering the New York water supply. Sonnie Joh helps run the system, and uses the filtered water to irrigate the private park’s flowers and trees. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SONNIE JOH – OCCUPY WALL STREET’S SUSTAINABILITY GROUP, SAYING: “We’re really coming up with a toolbox of skills and appropriate systems for other occupations for one, but also for self-sustainability.” The group wants to spread its message to the many other protest groups that have sprung up around the world – that it is possible to rail against the so-called one percent, while keeping their protest spaces green. Sharon Reich